No payment was received by Poland for two troubled shipyards by a midnight Monday deadline, threatening the deal meant to save them.
The Treasury Ministry Tuesday said the approximately $130 million offered by a private investor had not arrived.
The two Baltic Sea yards in Gdynia and Szczecin could now face bankruptcy and the loss of thousands of jobs
Confusion has reigned in the sale of the yards, which were the cradle of the Solidarity trade union that helped end communist rule in Poland.
In May, Warsaw announced the yards had been sold. The following month, it identified the buyer as Qatar's largest investment bank, QInvest.
The bank later said it was only representing other clients in the transaction (Stichting Particulier Fonds).
The shipyards had been receiving government subsidies to stay afloat until the European Union ordered Poland to sell them after ruling that the country had violated EU pro-market rules.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.